Reconciling Management Research and Practice

by J. La Force, Rebecca Novelli



It is a truism that a professional school represents a marriage between theory and practice. In our better universities, theory and practice are united by research. At their best, professional schools make a beneficial contribution to both worlds. At their worst, they are narrow and trivial. Today, radically changing conditions in the economic and political environment have raised serious questions about the relationship between academic research and the external conditions managers face. Indeed, some critics declare that the traditional union between theory and practice has ended in divorce and applaud the two going their separate ways. Management research, training, and practice have benefited immeasurably from the change in focus that brought rigorous thought and substance to what was an academically weak area of study. The result was a management curriculum based on more sophisticated knowledge of applied social sciences. Authors' commitment is to provide the necessary intellectual leadership in this new period and to add the academic locus that will lead to a better understanding of the business environment external to the firm. While this certainly is not a radical or sweeping change of course, it does represent a significant evolutionary step. It includes both a deepening of the quality of the research and teaching within the basic disciplines of management and a broadening of our focus to include both additional disciplines and an expansion from a domestic to an international focus.

California Management Review

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Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

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